Top tips to keep your motorhome windscreen chip-free

19th February 2016

Windscreen and glass damage contribute to a huge number of motorhome insurance claims each year. For motorists who’ve only ever encountered car window damage in the past, the repair bill for uninsured motorhome glass damage can come as a shock: around the £200 mark for fitting a new windscreen on a van conversion and well into the thousands for purpose-built motorhomes.If left unrepaired, seemingly minor chips can develop into more serious problems, requiring more expensive work and possible replacement. With this in mind, here are some practical ways to minimise the risk of windscreen chips happening in the first place.

Keep your distance

Most chips are caused by flying stones, coarse grit and other debris; usually stirred up by other traffic. While it’s true that the increased ground clearance on a motorhome compared to a car can help shield you against this, it’s also the case that your windscreen covers a much greater area, providing a bigger target if the debris reaches the right height.

As well as reducing the risks of a tail end collision, taking notice of recommended safe stopping distances can help keep your windshield in one piece too. Especially on loose or gravel-strewn roads, by maintaining a generous gap, you give time and space for debris stirred up by traffic ahead to fall to a safe height in front of your vehicle – instead of hitting your screen.

Other road users: beware lorries and missing mud flaps

In a motorhome built for comfort rather than acceleration, you may find yourself positioned in the inside lane behind HGVs more often than you would in your car. Unfortunately, these heavy commercial vehicles with multiple larger wheels have a greater capacity to throw up stones – and throw them further.

In this situation, maintain a generous distance. A lorry’s mud flaps will provide some protection, so be especially wary of tailgating vehicles with missing flaps.

Keep your wipers in good shape

Scratches can weaken the integrity of your windscreen, making it more prone to chipping or cracking. To help guard against this, check your wipers regularly by running your finger along the blade to detect rips and tears, in which case the blade should be replaced. Avoid running your wipers on a dry windshield.

Heat your screen gradually

When winter touring, you might be tempted to pour a kettle of very hot water on your windscreen to speed up the de-icing process. Bear in mind that frequent and rapid temperature changes can cause glass to expand and contract which can weaken the structure of your windscreen, making it more prone to cracking.

Clear your screen without giving it a ‘shock’ by turning your heating to a moderate setting.

Summer touring: avoid excessive direct sunlight

Prolonged exposure to very high temperatures can weaken a windscreen, potentially leading to fractures. Rarely will this be an issue in the UK, but it’s worth thinking about when summer touring in Europe.

When you’re parked up for long periods, try and find a shady spot. If this isn’t possible, external silver thermal screen covers work by reflecting sunlight and heat away from your windows. These bring the additional benefits of keeping your motorhome cool and lessening the build-up of condensation.

Pull over if you hit a hail storm

If you’re really unlucky, a hail storm can be enough to cause a windscreen chip. Fortunately hail storms are usually short-lived in this country. If one hits while you’re driving, slow right down to lessen the force of the impact and park up where it’s safe to do so until the storm blows over. For more advice about how to tackle snow, sleet or ice check out our top winter motorhome driving tips.

Windscreen chips: an occupational hazard for motorhome owners?

You can take precautions to minimise the risk of windscreen chips, but ultimately whether you’re hit by one is often down to pure chance. In an ideal world, a chip will be fixed swiftly and without an eye-watering repair bill.

From American RVs through to DIY conversions, Shield ensures that repairing damaged glass is a hassle-free process – even when you’re touring the continent. Get a quote today and discover how motorhome insurance from Shield can provide you with precisely the cover you need.

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